The Baron Empain Palace, also known as “Le Palais Hindou” or the Hindu palace, was built by Belgian millionaire Baron Edward Empain in 1911, in the Heliopolis district of the Egyptian capital.
The mansion fell into disrepair after Empain’s death in 1929 and for many years, amid protracted ownership disputes, it was rented out for social events or as a film set, Reuters news agency reported.
The palace’s ceilings, marble columns, doors, ornate windows and statues are all being fully restored, the ministry said.
Restoration the Baron Empain Palace in Heliopolis in Cairo is almost complete. Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
Some features, including iron fencing built around the palace in 2006, were removed after they were deemed to be incompatible with the building’s aesthetic, the ministry added.
Archaeologists work on restoring relief sculptures at the historic “Le Palais Hindou” (also known as the “Baron Empain Palace”). Credit: Khaled Desouki/AFP/Getty Images
The restoration has caused some controversy. Al Ahram reported that the building has been painted a ‘burnt sienna color’ and that several organizations had criticized the new look, the “Egyptian Historians” Facebook group describing it as a “defamation.”
Others, including the government, defended the color as historically accurate, however.
“The colors of the façade of the Baron Empain palace are the same as the original ones,” Hisham Samir, engineering adviser to the minister of antiquities, said in a statement published online.
“The restorers had taken all necessary measures from testing, analysis, architectural and photographic documentation of the wear-and-tear to plan accordingly and work on the samples within restoration methods followed in practice,” he added.
“Based on this, the restoration work on these facades was implemented according to what was discovered in terms of the original colors which were adversely affected by the weather over time,” the statement read.